11:58 AM CT (John)– How close is the competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying rounds? Well, you can see for yourself here on the More Front Wing Event Summary page, but try this on for size:
Justin Wilson ran a 59.4245 lap in the Firestone Fast 12, making him the 7th fastest car and the last driver bumped before the Firestone Fast 6 started. But, that time would have been good enough to claim a front row starting position for Race 1, as it was only bested by pole sitter Simon Pagenaud’s 59.3716!
9:28 AM CT (John)– Today will be an interesting day, as we get our first look at how the weather and new race date effect turn out for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. It’s hard to get a read on how this will all play out due to the multiple factors at play.
On one hand you would expect attendance to be up since this is the event’s second year, and year one featured two good races with championship deciding drama. Those races were just this past October, though, so the new race date and over-saturation fears could lead to lower attendance, especially coupled with the loss of the Pirelli World Challenge race that ran here in October.
From a local perspective, I can vouch that the promoters have done a much better job of advertising the event this year versus last though. TV and radio ads have been running for the past month here in the greater Houston area, and the advertisements haven’t all come just from the Shell and Pennzoil folks. The Greater Houston Honda dealers have been running a cool promotion allowing people who came in and test drove a Honda over the past few weeks to leave with tickets to the Grand Prix as well. The Honda dealers also have a first rate hospitality setup here for those that already own Hondas.
I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that the positives will outweigh the negatives and result in a good turnout for today and Sunday. IndyCars will be hitting the track here shortly for qualifying, so we will know soon enough.
NEXT PAGE: More live coverage from the 2014 Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston